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Start-Up Stadium Judges

Judges from the public and private sectors with collective expertise in early-stage investing, entrepreneurship, the start-up landscape, industrial biotechnology, and GreenTech space will be evaluating the applicants and finalists. 

Featured Judges

Daniel Cosgrove, Chief Strategy Office, Growers Edge

Neil Cameron

Daniel J. Cosgrove serves as the Chief Strategy Officer of Growers Edge, an early stage fintech startup located in Johnston, IA and Venture Parter at Radicle Growth in San Diego, CA. Previously, he served in both business and legal capacities, including Vice President of Business Development at DuPont Pioneer and most recently Global Leader, Corporate Development and Licensing at Corteva Agriscience. In these roles, Dan was at various times responsible for mergers and acquisition activity, venture and fund investments, and all licensing and collaboration activity of the company.


A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Dan received a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in engineering from Iowa State University, a law degree (JD) from Drake University, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from MIT Sloan School of Management. He came to Pioneer from the law firm of Zarley, McKee, Thomte, Voorhees & Sease in Des Moines, Iowa where he was a partner and practiced primarily in the area of patent litigation. He is a member of several bars including the State Court of Iowa and the United States Supreme Court, is licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has served on local, industry and philanthropic boards.

Jim Eiler, Principal, Eiler Captial

Neil Cameron

An independent investment banking firm leveraging our food, agribusiness, & renewable energy expertise to create and capitalize on opportunities for our clients.  The firm provides financial advisory, mergers & acquisitions, and capital formation services for national clients throughout the food chain and renewable energy sectors.  A Registered FINRA Independent Representative with StillPoint Capital, LLC and maintains the Series 7, 24, 63, 79, 82, & 99 licenses.

Adrienne Greenwald, Director, Communications & Public Relations, VentureNet Iowa

Bio coming soon.

Jacob Grose, Investment Manager, BASF Venture Captial

Jacob E. Grose, Ph.D. is an Investment Manager for BASF Venture Capital, where he heads the Boston office. He is a board member for NBD Nanotechnologies and a board observer for Provivi. Previously, he held various positions at BASF New Business and worked as a Senior Analyst at Lux Research. Jacob did his postdoctoral work at Stony Brook University/Brookhaven National Lab, and he holds a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University and a B.A. in physics from Harvard University.

Shaun Healy, Ventures Associate, BP Ventures

Shaun brings more than 17 years’ experience in technology development, management and commercialization. He holds a BS in biochemistry-molecular biology and an MBA focused on venture management.

Shaun holds an observer position on the boards of Synthetic Genomics, Peloton Technologies, and Cool Planet Energy Systems.

Liz Keehner, Program Manager, VentureNet Iowa

Bio coming soon.

Ganesh Kishore, Managing Partner, Spruce Capital

Dr. Kishore serves as a Director of APT Therapeutics, Inc. and Evolva Nutrition, Inc. He serves as a Member of Advisory Council at Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise. Dr. Kishore serves as a Member of the Advisory Board at Advanta Limited and served as its Director from September 13, 2006 to January 22, 2007. He served as an Independent Director of Glori Energy Inc. from October 2009 to December 20, 2016. Dr. Kishore served as a Director of Akermin, Inc. He served as a Member of Advisory Board at Kaiima. Dr. Kishore served as a Director of Gevo, Inc. from 2008 to July 2015. He served as a Member of Science Advisory Board at Glori Energy, Inc. until January 5, 2017. Dr. Kishore serves on the board of several academic institutions. He is the Inventor of more than 65 issued patents. Dr. Kishore was named to the list of to The WorldVIEW 100. He served as a Director of Embrex, Inc. Dr. Kishore won the Queeny Award given by Pharmacia in recognition of his contributions to the development of Roundup Ready technology. He was a Distinguished Science Fellow at Pharmacia since 1996. Dr. Kishore received postdoctoral training in Chemistry and Biology and was a Robert A. Welch Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. He received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science. Dr. Kishore earned a Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry, Physics and Chemistry from the University of Mysore, India.

John LaMarche, Principal, VentureNet Iowa

Bio coming soon.

John May, Managing Director, Hamilton Clark

Bio coming soon.

Jens Plassmeier, Senior Team Leader Biobased Chemicals, BASF Venture Capital

Jens is currently Sr. Team Leader for Biobased Chemicals at BASF with expert knowledge in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. His team is responsible for the execution of strain and process engineering tasks. Before joining BASF, Jens was holding the position of Director of Innovations at Conagen Inc, where he was responsible for strain engineering and fermentation engineering, along with innovation management along with an appointment from MIT as Research Affiliate. Jens served on the Board of Directors and the Steering and Innovation Committee of a natural ingredients company. During his professional career, Jens was able to successfully engineer and scale-up production strains for the production of various molecule classes. Prior, Jens was Postdoc and Research Scientist at MIT, where he was also working on strain and process engineering, mainly for biofuel production. Jens got his ScD with focus on strain engineering from Bielefeld University in Germany. Jens held consultant positions at biotech companies and he was expert panel reviewer for the Department of Energy (DOE). He is active editorial board member for multiple journals in the biotechnology/synthetic biology space. His main areas of interest are fermentation-based production of small molecules, the translation of laboratory results to commercial scale, and automation strategies.

Anne Price, Anne Price, State-Wide SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, Iowa Innovation Corporation

Anne Price joined IICorp in November 2017 as Program Coordinator. She previously was a nanny for a private family and facilitated Venture School with the University of Iowa. At IICorp Anne serves as the state wide (SBIR/STTR) Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Tech Transfer program coordinator. As a state coordinator, Anne works to advance SBIR/STTR activities in Iowa to help increase the number of federal grants to companies in the state. She works closely with businesses, research and educational institutions, federal program managers, and statewide service providers to accelerate projects with significant commercial potential. Anne is interested in cultivating community and business relationships in addition to connecting resources. Anne earned a B.A. in Communication Studies, Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, and Museum Studies Certificate from the University of Iowa.

Jim Register, President and CEO, Iowa Innovation Corporation

Dr. Jim Register is the President and CEO of the Iowa Innovation Corporation (IICorp), the State of Iowa’s public-private partnership focusing on bioscience-based economic development. The corporation has a two-part mission. First, it serves as an Iowa bioscience development center, formed in 2018, leading the state’s economic development efforts in four bioscience areas: biobased chemicals; precision / digital agriculture; vaccines and immunotherapeutics; and medical devices. Keys to meeting this objective include increasing access to capital investment for bioscience companies, improving connectivity and collaboration opportunities between key stakeholders in each of the platforms and ensuring continued legislative support for innovation ecosystem development programs. Second, the corporation manages the state’s Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Research Outreach Program. More information about these programs can be found at Dr. Register received his B.S. degree in Biology from Texas Christian University in 1981 and completed his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. Prior to joining IICorp, he spent most of his career in agbiotech, primarily with DuPont Pioneer (now a part of Corteva Agriscience™), where he served in a variety of leadership roles within Research or at the research-business interface. He joined the IICorp in 2018.

John Reilly, Managing Director, Investment Banking, WestPark Capital

John Reilly has over 30 years of experience in financial advisory and investment banking. Mr. Reilly started his career in 1978 with Integrated Resources Inc., an investment bank in New York City and was instrumental in the financing of middle market technology, telecom, media, and energy projects. In 1982 he created Financial Planning Advisors (FPA) and developed a fund of funds asset management strategy utilizing domestic and international mutual funds. From 2002 to 2012 he held managing director positions at several firms including Alliance Capital Partners, Viewpoint Securities, and Brookstone Securities. Mr. Reilly received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Northeastern University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1984. He later attended Hawaii Pacific University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in preparation of taking and passing the CPA exam in 1993. John has done graduate work in Finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. John holds the series 7, 79, 24 and 63 securities licenses. Mr. Reilly is a CPA and received his B.B.A. in Public Accounting from Pace University in New York.